Word: Get your computer to read your documentMay 13, 2016
One final checks that many editors do is to read a document aloud. But until you’re used to doing that, reading aloud to an empty room seems really weird. Reading aloud to others who don’t care about the document can be awkward. Of course, if you have a pet, you could read aloud to it, but it might want to play (dog), or ignore you (fish, reptile), or ignore you and walk off (cat), or reply (bird).
Windows comes with an in-built text to speech reader, and the easiest way to get it to read some or all of your Word document is to add the ‘Speak’ icon to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).
Here’s how in Word 2010 – later versions should be similar:
- Open any Word document.
- Go to File > Options.
- Click Quick Access Toolbar on the left ( in the screenshot below).
- Click the drop-down arrow next to Popular Commands , then select All Commands .
- Type the letter ‘s’ to go to the commands starting with ‘s’, then scroll to Speak and select it .
- Click Add  to add it to your QAT.
- Click OK to close the Options window. The Speak icon (a speech bubble) should now be on your QAT.
- To test that it works, make sure your headphones or speakers are connected and on.
- Select any of the text in your Word document, then click the Speak icon. (To hear the entire document, select it all — Ctrl+A).
- To stop, click the Speak icon again.
NOTE: I tested this on my Windows 7 64-bit computer, and there’s only one voice available by default — Microsoft ‘Anna’, a robotic female US voice. I couldn’t find any easy way to get other voices (without paying for them), though I believe there are more free voices available in 32-bit Windows 7, and in Windows 8 and later.
[Links last checked May 2016]